Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins
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Aston Villa complete record $36 million Watkins deal

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Ollie Watkins has completed his $36 million transfer to Aston Villa as the young striker was chased by a host of Premier League clubs.

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Watkins, 24, has signed a five-year contract at Aston Villa (where he becomes their club-record signing) after a sensational season for Brentford in the Championship as he scored 26 times.

Those goals led the Bees to the playoff final but they lost to Fulham at Wembley and missed out on promotion to the Premier League. Watkins is delighted to have landed at Aston Villa and work for his former manager at Brentford, Dean Smith.

“I’m delighted,” Ollie Watkins told VillaTV. “It’s been a long time coming but I’m buzzing it’s done now, I can’t wait to get going. It’s a massive club. Dean sold it to me, really. I’m definitely excited to get back working with Dean, I’m really looking forward to it. He sold it to me as soon as I met him. I told my agent I really want to get that sorted as soon as I heard they were interested. I’m looking forward to working with him and Rich (O’Kelly), they gave me a lot of confidence playing under them at Brentford. Hopefully they can do that again now.”

Dean Smith knows Watkins well and said he is “a hugely determined character who has both the ability and personality to succeed at the highest level.”

This is a big deal for Aston Villa. So often they created so many chances to score last season but first Wesley, then Mbwana Samatta failed to convert those opportunities. Villa have also been in for Callum Wilson but he decided to move to Newcastle, so Watkins was their man.

Watkins has the ability to stretch defenses but is also a poacher inside the penalty box and has transformed his game from being a winger/attacking midfielder to someone who can play through the middle up top on his own. At Brentford he wrecked havoc last season alongside Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo and he should slot in well with Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi.

Villa know that the likes of Jack Grealish will create plenty of chances and now they have Watkins to finish them off. If they can stay solid defensively like they did during ‘Project Restart’ as that ultimately kept them up, they now know they have a prolific striker up top.

Watkins has never played in the Premier League, so that’s a risk, but Smith knows him well and Watkins must now hit the ground running.

Transfer news: USMNT back to Bournemouth; Martinez, Watkins to Villa

Watkins to Villa
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Newcastle has signed another player, Aston Villa are after two including one Tottenham target, and Cameron Carter-Vickers may get another loan away from North London.

[ MORE: Newcastle season preview ]

All aboard the transfer rumor train…


Martinez to Villa, Watkins to Villa

Aston Villa’s looking to shore up two positions with signings from London.

First is Arsenal backstop Emiliano Martinez, who starred down the stretch for Mikel Arteta but was only between the sticks because star keeper Bernd Leno was down with injury.

Martinez wants to play and Villa has already seen one bid rejected by the Gunners, who want $24 million for the Argentine according to The Guardian.

The same report says Villa is ready to outbid Tottenham for Brentford striker Ollie Watkins, offering more than $30 million for the prolific Championship hit man.

Watkins, 24, scored a career-best 25 goals as the Bees came oh-so-close to the Premier League, and he’s habitually been a double-digit goal man who chips in a half-dozen or more assists.

It’s a lot of dough, but strikers get money.

Lewis to Newcastle

Look out everyone: Newcastle has signed another player and not a cheap one given the age and experience of reported $19 million buy Jamal Lewis.

The Magpies have added the Norwich City left back to this week’s signings of Bournemouth duo Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser.

The 12-times capped Northern Ireland man was linked with Liverpool earlier this summer.

Every year sees PL teams raid the relegated sides for talent and Lewis well-liked at Carrow Road.

He’ll give Steve Bruce strength and depth on the left if he wants to use Matt Ritchie in a more advanced role and keep Javi Manquillo on the right.

Lewis to Newcastle
Lewis against his new team in an August win (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Carter-Vickers to Bournemouth

A much-changed and relegated Bournemouth side could be adding an American to its push for promotion back to the Premier League.

Football.London has the story of Cameron Carter-Vickers, who was a massive part of helping Luton Town surge out of the Championship playoff picture last year.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly okay with sanctioning another loan of Carter-Vickers despite the USMNT center back getting some run in preseason friendlies.

Carter-Vickers, 22, would help fill the gap left by Nathan Ake’s expensive move to Man City as the Cherries learn to live life without goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and attackers Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser.

Transfer news: Ndombele-Bernardeschi swap; Memphis to Barcelona

Premier League transfer news
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Today’s Premier League transfer news includes Spurs and Juventus swapping Tanguy Ndombele and Federico Bernardeschi, Memphis Depay agreeing terms with Barcelona, and Arsenal swapping Matteo Guendouzi and Alexandre Lacazette for Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey…

[ MORE: Kai Havertz completes transfer to Chelsea ]

Ndombele-Bernardeschi swap for Spurs, Juventus

Ndombele appears destined to be linked with a move away from Tottenham Hotspur every second of every day until he finally leaves the club. Such is life for free-roaming midfielders with Jose Mourinho as their manager. Anyway, Juventus are reportedly interested in Ndombele and are set to offer winger Federico Bernardeschi as part of a package to bring the 23-year-old Frenchman to Turin.

Barcelona agree terms with Memphis

Depay is the latest Dutchman linked with a move to Barcelona following the appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager. The club has reportedly already agreed terms with the player and his current club, Lyon. The fee is reportedly $47 million,

[ MORE: Transfer news: Suarez to Juventus; Man Utd back for Sancho ]

Arsenal offer Guendouzi, Lacazette for Partey

Partey has been linked with a move to, along with plenty of other clubs, Arsenal for quite some time now. The premise is simple: the Gunners have needed a mobile destroyer at the base of midfielder for years. Party ticks all of those boxes, so the fit is obvious. Atleti aren’t willing to accept any kind of cut-rate price, so now Arsenal have reportedly resorted to offering out Guendouzi and Lacazette to bridge the gap in negotiations. Atleti are said to rate Guendouzi highly, but Lacazette’s inclusion is something of an issue for them.

Aston Villa closing in on Watkins; West Ham bid for Benrahma

From the moment Brentford failed to win promotion to the Premier League, star attackers Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma appeared destined to leave for clubs in the top division. Aston Villa are reportedly close to agreeing a $26-million deal for Watkins, the EFL Championship’s second-leading scorer last season with 25 goals. Meanwhile, West Ham United are reportedly failing to make any progress on Benrahma based on Brentford’s hard-line valuation of $33 million.

Transfer news: Thiago Silva to Chelsea; Man Utd targeting Brooks

Thiago Silva to Chelsea
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The latest transfer news in the Premier League includes Thiago Silva to Chelsea, Man United’s latest backup plan after missing out on Jadon Sancho, and Barcelona coming for a Liverpool star…

[ MORE: Premier League on Peacock schedule: How to watch fixtures ]

Thiago Silva to Chelsea

The 35-year-old Brazilian defender will be available as a free agent following the expiration of his PSG contract after Sunday’s UEFA Champions League final, and Frank Lampard is reportedly keen on bringing in a bit of veteran experience to help guide a squad full of youth and inexperience. The question of whether or not Silva would actually improve the Blues’ on-field performance is also being considered. Fiorentina have already offered Silva a two-year contract.

David Brooks to Man United

Between now and the end of the summer/fall transfer window on Oct. 5, United are likely to be linked with just about every right winger in the entire world as a “backup option” after missing out on Jadon Sancho. Today, it’s Bournemouth’s David Brooks who’s linked with a move to Old Trafford. Despite the fact the Cherries were relegated from the PL, they are said to be holding out for $52 million.

[ MORE: Man Utd captain Maguire arrested after “alleged incident” in Greece ]

Koeman, Barcelona want Wijnaldum

Speaking of transfer rumors type casting a club — or, in this case, a manager — with similar players, new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman is reportedly interested in signing Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool. The easiest bet of the century is that at least half of the players linked with a move to Barca in the coming weeks will be Dutch.

Aston Villa to move for Watkins

Ollie Watkins didn’t win promotion with Brentford, but the 24-year-old forward might win promotion of his own with a handful of PL sides heavily linked last season’s second-highest goalscorer in the EFL Championship. Villa hope to do a deal for $23 million, but the Bees are reportedly holding out for something in the neighborhood of $33 million.

Championship playoff final: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

Brentford - Fulham
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Fulham – Brentford: Team news is in with the two West London sides set to do battle for a place in the Premier League in the Football League Championship promotion playoff final at Wembley Stadium.

We can hardly wait to find out who’ll claim the 20th berth in the 2020-21 Premier League season in the richest game on earth.

[ MORE: Predictions, Odds for Europe ]

Kickoff is at 2:45 pm ET Tuesday at Wembley Stadium.

Team news


Key players

Fulham leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 26 goals were the joint-most in the Championship and more than three times as many as Tom Cairney, second amongst the Cottagers. He’s healthy for the first time after missing the semis with a hamstring injury.

Brentford’s Ollie Watkins scored the same amount of goals as Mitrovic, tying for the league lead, and he’s joined by Said Benrahma’s 17 goals (fifth in the league) and Bryan Mbeumo (eighth). The latter have combined for 16 assists, too. The Bees can sting.

Their seasons

Brentford won a even-straight league games to surge into the mix for automatic promotion but lost their last two, meeting Fulham on 81 points.

As for the Cottagers, Fulham finished the season on a seven-match unbeaten run which included five wins

Their playoffs

Brentford overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to oust Swansea City in the semifinal, while Fulham’s first leg win was enough to outlast Cardiff City’s strong second leg in their semi.

Odds and ends

Brentford beat Fulham twice, 1-0 at Griffin Park and 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

The Bees are favored to win the match at +108 odds, while Fulham carries +265 odds of a win.

Prediction

Mitrovic’s availability is huge for a Fulham side hoping to break down the league’s second-stingiest defense. Brentford feels like it’s the superior side but Fulham has been here and Cairney even scored the goal to beat Aston Villa in the 2017-18 playoff final. That experience is an X-factor, but we’ll still call Brentford 2-1 winners.

How to watch Fulham – Brentford

Kickoff: 2:45 pm ET Tuesday
Stream: ESPN+